Lately Coach M has been all about the fort building. It's a great place to play. It's also fun to do bum-drops on the couch. Something about her in the fort last night got me thinking - about what it represents - safety? strength? security? I think we all build forts around ourselves and it's hard to step outside the safety and security of what they do for us. The thing is, if we don't get outside our forts we're never going to become stronger. What does your fort look like - three, hour long runs each week that follow the same route? The same boring black shorts and white shirt? Easily mastered distances, 10km, 1/2 marathon? The same races year after year?

Sure, familiarity is good. But, the thing is when we break away from the fort - even for a short while we morph into these adventure seeking enthusiasts. And that is a good thing. This year, I'm adventuring into triathlon - sort of. In fact, it still feels pretty safe, I'm confident in the pool and know the bike and run will go relatively well. Ok, so I'm doing Mud Hero - but wait, still kinda safe, I did two obstacle course runs last year. I know what it means to train hard to PB a race and I'll be doing some of that too. So what's my challenge? It seems that I'm stuck inside the fort.

So now I'm on a mission - to do something radical this year. For now, it's a baby step. I accepted a position at one of the local specialty running stores, Strides. I've worked in running and fitness retail previously but haven't been in the game for nearly five years. I'm nervous about being savvy enough about all the new technology on the market. I know I'll catch on quick but none-the-less I don't want to be walking around the store sounding like a nincompoop.

So, I need an adventure. A quest. Maybe it's carrying Coach M in the backpack up a mountain. Maybe it's a road race on my bike (eep! large group riding). Yeah, that sounds adventurous.

What's your adventure in 2012?


Fellowship: Twitter Road Race

Looking East - my run route.
I never thought I'd run a race in January, dressed in capris. Capris, even though fleece lined, were a little chilly this afternoon. The forecasted chinook hadn't rolled in yet so it was a brisk -10C. Brr, not my ideal running weather. But, with no chinook there was no wind, I despise wind. On the way to my start point I saw my friend Jenny booking it with her dog Pepper. Seeing her, even though I  knew I was unlikely to cross her path was a great boost. Here's a pic she posted after her run:

Pepper, still alert, after his 22km run at a 4:40/km pace.

There's something about seeing other runners, especially friendly faces that gets me wound up to run. I can be driving home and see runners out, and even though I've perhaps completed my workout or have one scheduled for later in the day, I just want to get out and run right now because of them. That's why I couldn't pass up the Twitter Road Race. Sure, I didn't toe the start line with anybody physically, but virtually, 800 plus runners signed up for a race in January. Now that is social media power at its infinite. Tweets were coming in all morning about icy, snowy, blustery conditions, but the idea of running a race with a fellowship of worldwide runners was clearly too good to pass up.

I had minimal expectations going into the run today. In fact, I had no idea what to expect. The plan was to run hard and hope for something around the 25 minute mark - I even thought that might be ambitious. Months ago I did a 24:18 5km and I had no expectations of being anywhere near that number. Let's be honest, the work effort since Vegas has been minimal to moderate at best. There's been little consistency with my training. So, when I posted a 24:26 today I couldn't actually believe it. However, despite my time it wasn't a great run, but it wasn't bad either. Average.  It wasn't a great run because I felt inconsistent. I couldn't hold a steady pace so I felt like I bopped between working too hard and not working hard enough. It's like there's this area I can't quite hit - the comfortable uncomfortable. As much as I wanted to be out running, I didn't want to be racing. But! To be able to pull through mentally, with no one around to be competitive against, was perhaps the biggest accomplishment. I amazed myself and I feel like I've still got a great base and perhaps with some consistency and commitment to my training I'll be able to PB my 5km this year after all - that is, break 23:30.

But as much as the TRR is about personal achievements it's really about something more. Being part of a virtual community of runners is inspiring and humbling. Knowing that you have the support and encouragement of like-minded fun, adventurous, and spirited individuals within your constant reach has become a big part of why I keep running and keep blogging. I know some days I'm barely a blip on the radar but I have to hope I can be for someone else what many others are for me. Congrats to everyone else who went out for the inaugural Twitter Road Race. I am proud to be part of such a great group of people!


Fish & Other Topics

Last night was my first swim workout. 1550m in 45ish minutes. I decided to join a regular, organized, structured class to help train for my June triathlon. I think the training is a steal of a deal at $90 for 9 weeks. The triathlon I'm registered for is a sprint, but the swim is a staggering 750m. When I registered I put I could do the swim in 15 minutes. Yep, I'm a hopeful. Or plain stupid perhaps. I think if I had to do it today I'd be closer to 20. Five minutes off a swim time. I have no idea what that means. I know what it means to take five minutes off a run or a bike but when it comes to swimming I'm lost. I'm the fish swimming up stream.

My swimming challenges I can see so far 1. needing to get my butt and feet up. That is a core strength issue I think, 2. breathing - getting the combo down right so I don't feel like I'm drowning or so I don't hyperventilate from breathing too often, 3. probably a bunch of other technical issues. Hopefully I can work on this swim thing and maybe get some hot arms and a hot back in the process - did I mention those muscles feel very fatigued today? On the plus side, I felt like my strong cardio base was a help in the pool. I was able to do the workout continuously without (excessive) rest. Bonus! That and I didn't drink too much pool water last night. And considering it's salt water - does it count as replacing my electrolytes?

Water, electrolytes. Lately I've been loving nuun. I was turned onto the product by Sarah and Dimity. I love the no sugar approach and the delicious flavours. I never feel bad when Coach M wants to take a swig. Currently I'm digging the Iced Tea and Lemon/Lime. I drop them in my water all day long and sip away. I love the idea of getting in balance before a key workout.

Balance - every feel just not right? Yep, I am that way sometimes, and then I think. Huh, when is the last time I took my vitamins? Yep. Despite the great effort to eat really good I know that there's days when I'm missing something. Keeping up with the vitamins helps me have some peace of mind that I'm covering my bases. If there's one supplement that I can't do without, it's my omega 3's. I notice a huge difference when I take them vs. not taking them. Focused, clarity, stable mood. My runner up supplement is vitamin D. 2000IU in the winter and 1000 in the summer. There's so much mounting evidence about the positive benefits of vitamin D it's outstanding. In fact, we make sure coach M gets her daily dose of Omega 3's and D everyday too.

I'm still an advocate from getting your essential nutrients from real food but I can assure you we are not eating the food our grandparents ate. I have to say that I'm super excited to be in our new house this summer and we can grow our own veg and fruits. Berries, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, peas. Yum - not sure if they'll even make it in the house to be cooked.

Swimming, food, vitamins, sure, they're not really a cohesive blog post but those are just the ramblings I've been thinking about lately. I haven't been very reflective about running, biking, or anything else of late. But! I am doing my first race of the season. The Twitter Road Race I love the idea of people all over the globe out to run five collective kilometers. It makes me happy to know I'm a runner who is part of a globally healthy movement (because we are unhealthily addicted to Twitter). It's cool to be connected I guess. Watch for the 'race' report on Sunday.


Fresh Air

Let's be honest - I woke up really grumpy this morning. Really really grumpy. But I knew exactly what I needed. Fresh Air - and maybe a little sunshine. I like to try and get outside everyday, for my sanity, for coach M's sanity. Perhaps because I know we're six short weeks away from being in our new house and the cramped space of the condo is really wearing on me (all of us actually) or maybe it was just having gone three days without stepping foot outside save some trips to and from the car. The weather was uncooperative, windy to put it frankly - heavily gusting. That and walking around the block is getting boring for me (all of us actually).

So today, I finally stepped out the door at 4:30 for a run. A quick 6km so I could get home and eat with hubby and M before he left for work. It was beautiful. I mean really perfect out for running. Finally the wind had settled down and I ran the pathways smiling and waving at everyone. My heart was truly singing. I came home much much less grumpy and felt like I could even face another terrible night of the teething toddler (surprise! she was amazingly hilarious tonight). So I'm happy.

We're heading to Vernon for the weekend for a family weekend (my mom, my grandma, my brother & family) and I'm hoping we can do some tobogganing with the family. The forecast looks sunny and warm. I'm going to run 13km with my mom on Saturday. We ran 10km last weekend too. It's nice to get that time in with her and catch up on her life, gossip about the family, and help her train for another marathon (Avenue of the Giants) in what is proving to be a beautiful winter so far (fingers crossed). The kms are good for me too as I lead up to a half on May 12 although it is a trail run so I'm going to have to be hitting up the trails while the weather is decent.

Fresh Air - what has it done for you today?


Follow Through

Another year come and gone and what with it? A pile of New Year's Resolutions bound to be abandoned.

So what's my resolution? A while back, I was sitting there with box dye on my hair painting my nails and though - what the hell am I thinking putting this crap ON my body. I strive to eat really clean organic delicious food and then I'm slathering all these chemicals on my body? I'll admit, I'm pretty lazy when it comes to skin care. Only lately have I been looking in the mirror thinking, hmm, getting a few wrinkles (eep!) I'm not religious about sunscreen, washing my face, and don't have a pile of lotions and creams. But what I do have could stand to be better. Why Natural Matters

I'll confess, I'm not about to toss my entire drawer full of MAC cosmetics (that I rarely use) or near new jar of face cream but I will, when it comes time to replace said items, source out some great alternatives. Already I wash my face using my anti-bacterial Norwex cloth. I use all their home goods too and have a 95% chemical free household when it comes to cleaning.

There are some great local products made by the Rocky Mountain Soap Co. that I'm going to give a whirl. I used their belly butter when I was pregnant and just adore their foot butter and lip butter. I was also given a book a while back called Organic Beauty that give formulas for doing your own compounding. I'm not sure this is up my alley but always handy in case I find a spare day with no child and time to have an at-home spa day. Might have to schedule that one as days like that don't come by happenstance. The book though has lots of great tips and suggestions for products.

Following through with the plan will always be the challenge. It takes time and effort to source out great products and find ones that work. I'm confident though I can make it happen and be better to my body. Do you have any great product suggestions for me?